Recently I caught up with the brilliant Sarah Davenport, founder of the Stamford based 'That Rebel House'.  Sarah created 'That Rebel House' as a safe place for people to feel free to bend or even break the rules when designing and decorating your home. With vibrant homewares and regular stock drops, 'That Rebel House' is well worth keeping an eye on! Here is what Sarah had to say with regards to decorating your home with vintage textiles:


How do you go about incorporating them into your work?
Vintage rugs made from natural materials i.e. wool and cotton are my ‘go-to’ statement vintage textiles for interior decor.  They serve as the anchor of a design scheme and bring a sense of nostalgia to the space. By considering a rug’s style, colour, placement and balance with other elements, you can successfully incorporate vintage rugs into any space - contemporary or classic.

How best to display them?
This is the best part!  I find it quite fascinating that vintage rugs, with their intricate designs and artistry, can serve as a dual purpose; both as functional floor coverings and pieces of art! The ability to walk on a vintage rug adds a unique dimension to its appreciation and enjoyment, blending beauty and utility. It is a unique way to engage with art in our everyday lives.  Of course, you can actually hang your vintage rug as a piece of art in the form of a wall hanging, particularly if it is delicate or smaller. I advise using a rug hanging system or rug clips to secure it to the wall.

Where to start when using vintage textiles? Can they inspire a whole scheme?
Absolutely!  As the brand name suggests, I actively encourage everyone to be authentic and expressive with their interior decor choices.  Please don’t get hung up on if something is ‘right or wrong’.  If you love it, it's right for you and that is the most important thing.  You can choose to be inspired by one colour or pattern from your vintage textile or by them all.  Personally, I find the layering approach the most versatile and resilient to changing tastes.  If you’ve got layers of pattern and colour in most rooms of the house, through rugs, throws, cushions, lampshades and wall hangings, it is so easy to switch them up and relayer for a different look anytime you fancy.  

Unique creative ways of working with vintage textiles?
There are so many! But again, I will always say don't restrict yourself!  If you want to throw a handwoven rug/tapestry over your bed or sofa then go for it!  I even use them on outdoor benches in the summer.  A favourite of mine and Chloe’s are Suzanis; they make super stylish curtains and use them instead of a door or a cupboard front.

Why do you love working with vintage textiles?
I have a strong passion that rugs are a brilliant way to make a significant sustainable choice for your interior. In most cases, rugs being the next largest piece after your furniture - why would you choose for your rug to be machine made from plastic?  I love sourcing vintage textiles and rugs to help people have easier access to this fantastic sustainable design statement for their home.  Plus, vintage textiles offer a distinct aesthetic appeal that can be hard to find in contemporary materials.

Why would you recommend others to work with vintage textiles?
You get this sense of discovery and uniqueness, the process of sourcing vintage textiles is an exciting and rewarding experience.  The anticipation of what you are going to find…. It’s like buying a scratch card:)

What would your top 3 tips be for anyone looking to start using vintage textiles?
Yes, vintage textiles are to be treasured and respected but don’t be too precious with them.
  • Be bold - wholeheartedly express yourself
  • Be brave - let your imagination guide you
  • Be free - use vintage textiles as a foundation to create something new and unique to you

  • How has the fabric and textile industry evolved since you became a part of it and what do you see and hope for the future of it?
    The traditional craft and cottage industry of pleated and gathered lampshades has significantly changed since I began hand making them myself in 2016.  In the last couple of years there has been a surge of large retailers mass-producing these once exclusive lampshades and they are now much more popular and easy to find, hence the saturated market.  I hope, once the mass producers have moved on to the next trend, that local artisans, such as myself and Chloe will still be offering a personalised service and creating unique and customised gathered lampshades.